Intex are known for their affordable inflatable products, and they make some of the best budget-friendly portable kayaks on the market.
Of these, the Intex Excursion Pro series is undoubtedly the most popular for fishing, and so we decided to put it under the microscope to really see what all the fuss was about.
At under $300, it’s an absolute bargain for anyone looking to get into kayak fishing, but is it actually any good?
Read on for our Intex Excursion Pro kayak review to find out.
Our Verdict on the Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak
Probably the best budget-friendly inflatable kayak on the market, the Excursion Pro series is well worth your consideration. The downsides are its performance, storage space, and comfort – but for casual use, this isn’t a big deal.
- The Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak Review
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The Intex Excursion Pro Series – What is It?
First released in 2019, the Intex Excursion Pro series is a selection of the company’s top-of-the-line kayaks that are superior to basic seaside play boats and beach inflatables in every way.
Not to be confused with the Intex Explorer range, which is purely for recreational purposes, not as durable as the Intex Excursion Pro, and not as feature-rich for fishing.
These kayaks come as a complete package, with aluminum oars, air pump, and carry bag included – not to mention a whole host of extra features we’ll discuss later on.
K1 and K2
Available as a solo or tandem kayak (K1 and K2, respectively), the Excursion Pro has become arguably the most popular, highly-rated, and affordable inflatable kayak out there, and is a perfect entry-level option for anyone just starting out.
And yet, there are still plenty of features to keep more experienced kayak anglers happy, with enough scope to customize the craft to your own personal loadout specifications.
You can check out this review for more of the best tandem fishing kayaks on the market.
What’s it For?
I would recommend the Intex Pro be used on calm waters, lakes, rivers, and inlets – but on nothing more challenging than class II whitewater.
While it can handle a little chop, it’s not designed for swells, strong currents, and tides, and so fast-moving water should be avoided.
The Intex Excursion Pro Inflatable Kayak Review
Banish those thoughts of cheap, blow-up beach dinghies – modern inflatable kayaks are getting better all the time.
The Intex Excursion Pro series is made with a super-tough, laminated PVC, that looks and feels quality when you first take it out of the bag.
I find that to be very reassuring when I’m reviewing/using inflatable kayaks.
There are also three layers of this material, one of which is a woven, polyester core, which only increases the craft’s overall durability and longevity.
At the bow and stern, there are durable plastic nose cones, which will protect you and the kayak should you happen to hit any obstacles or hazards while on the water.
Remember, modern inflatable kayaks are designed to take a beating, and even if you do happen to hit a rock or other obstacle down river, it will likely just bounce off.
The Intex Excursion Pro has been designed to be highly resistant to abrasion and impact, and has been treated for protection against UV rays, as well as oil or other liquid spills and stains.
That’s one of the huge advantages inflatables have over hardshells – as they won’t take on as much cosmetic damage if collisions occur.
Read this article for more of a comparison between hardshell and inflatable kayaks.
However, you mustn’t forget that this is still a budget inflatable kayak, and it’s not going to last as long or stand up to more expensive, high-end inflatables, such as Sea Eagle or Advanced Elements products.
And there’s still a risk of a puncture – however unlikely – should you catch a particularly sharp branch at speed, for example. But with three air chambers, you can easily make it back to shore for repairs.
While top performance isn’t necessarily the number-one priority for most kayak anglers, a good fishing kayak should still have a modicum of talent “under the hood.”
We’ve broken it down into the following four departments:
Tracking refers to how straight a kayak travels when moving across/through the water. The easier it is to paddle in a straight line, the greater the kayak “tracks.”
Unfortunately, most inflatables – especially at the more budget-friendly end of the scale – aren’t known for their superior tracking ability.
However, the Intex Excursion does a decent job on the water, largely thanks to the specially designed removable skegs that help to prevent it from veering side-to-side.
There’s one included for shallow water, and one for deep, although you’ll need to select which one you need before you set off.
Likewise, inflatables are never going to win races against comparative hardshells, and you’ll have a hard time getting up a decent head of speed in this.
That said, with a good paddling stroke, you’ll still be able to get from A to B at a peppy enough pace – providing you’re in calm conditions, that is.
With high air pressure inflation, the Intex Excursion Pro is surprisingly stable, but without a wide, drop-stitch floor, I wouldn’t risk attempting to stand up in it.
That said, it feels more stable than many hardshells, largely thanks to its added buoyancy from the dual, pontoon-style air chambers on either side of the boat.
If you are looking for the best stand-up fishing kayaks for those standing casts and reels, follow that link.
Surprisingly, the Excursion Pro has a relatively small turning circle, and while it’s not going to compare with whitewater kayaks or play boats, it’s perfectly suitable for those lakes and lazy rivers it’s been designed for.
Features and Accessories
Now, this is where the Intex Excursion Pro really shines, as it includes a plethora of practical features and accessories that you would expect on fishing kayaks twice the price:
- Paddle, carry bag, and pump with pressure gauge.
- Two integrated, recessed fishing rod holders.
- A removable and adjustable mounting bracket (perfect for fish finders/GPS systems/etc).
- Removable and adjustable phone/sport camera mount.
- Inflatable booster seat.
- Repair kit.
The paddles themselves aren’t the best quality (they never are when included in a kayak package), and you’ll want to upgrade as soon as possible. Check out this review of the best kayak fishing paddles for more.
The rod holders included are okay, and they have a tendency to turn in on themselves and cross over – which might prove a bit of a headache when you’re trying to organize your trolling lines.
You also might want to add some more – including an articulated rod holder/swivel fishing rod holders. Go to this review of the best kayak fishing rod holders and find one that suits your needs.
The phone/sport camera mount on the gunwale can also be used to add extra fishing rod holders if you so choose.
Inflatable kayaks are generally not known for their outstanding levels of comfort – unless you’re riding something like the Aquaglide Blackfoot with lawn chair style seating.
The Intex Excursion Pro kayak is okay in this department, utilizing an inflatable bucket seat that is adjustable, although it doesn’t have the greatest range, and is a little fiddly to manipulate.
The inflatable booster pad is a nice inclusion – which raises the paddler up for a more comfortable seating position and improved field-of-view.
One of my common complaints about poor-quality inflatables is “bottoming out,” and sitting too close to or even below the water line.
I’d highly recommend using the booster seat with the Intex to avoid the possibility of that happening here.
It comes with two adjustable, floor-mounted footrests (or one if you’re purchasing the solo kayak) which is a real bonus as many inflatables are missing this feature.
Footrests can be slotted into one of three positions to accommodate paddlers of varying heights, and you’ll find there’s plenty of legroom for most paddlers.
Inflatables lack the storage capabilities of hardshells, and the Intex Excursion Pro is no different. There are no tank wells, no storage hatches, and no bungee tie-downs.
What you do get is four, stainless steel D-rings that you can lash gear to, and a bow and stern storage space with spray-skirt coverage.
If you’re not fishing, you can also use the removable mounting bar to attach gear to, and get creative with how you pack the Intex Excursion Pro kayak.
It’s not amazing, but it’s perfectly fine for most users. Remember, you can always select the tandem version and paddle it solo for more room.
By their nature, inflatable kayaks are extremely buoyant, and often have higher weight capacities than their hardshell counterparts.
The Intex Excursion Pro kayak has a maximum weight limit of 400 lbs, which is very generous for this size of craft, and more than enough for the average fishing trip.
You should never attempt to overload a hardshell or inflatable kayak, and leave a good bit of breathing room between the maximum weight capacity, and how much you’re actually bringing with you on your camping/fishing trip.
And that includes the ballpark weight of any potential catches!
At just under 40 lbs, the Intex Excursion Pro kayak is one of the lightest fishing kayaks around, and extremely easy to transport to and from the water.
The carry handles at bow and stern are durable and well-made, but you can easily lift this kayak under your arm if you’d prefer.
Everything – including the air pump – fits inside the carry bag included, but it might be a bit of a challenge to pack it all back up when you’re done for the day.
Top-tip – always bring an old towel to wipe down the kayak before attempting to fold it up – especially if you’ve been out in muddy conditions.
Ease of Use
The Intex Excursion Pro can be ready-to-go on the water in under 10 minutes, although with a high-power pump and your own experience/knowledge, it can be much less.
With the pump included, it’ll take maybe 45-55 pumps for the side air chambers, and 30-35 pumps for the floor.
As mentioned, durable grab handles are located at both ends to assist with transportation.
A really nice touch is that the inflation/deflation valves are spring-loaded, and you can turn them to lock or unlock.
This ensures you don’t lose air when you remove your inflation hose/nozzle, and you don’t need to panic about getting the valve plugged up.
The pump that’s included is easy to use, and comes with a Psi gauge, ensuring you don’t under or over-inflate your kayak. It also has a regulation button to easily release air if required.
Always make sure you inflate the Intex Excursion Pro kayak (and any inflatable kayak, for that matter) to the recommended level of air pressure. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, and always refer to the pressure gauge when inflating.
I found one of the few negatives with inflating is with the valve on the inflatable seats – as it’s nowhere near as good as the valve spring on the kayak and can be a little fiddly to inflate.
Unfortunately, the Intex Excursion Pro isn’t going to win any kayak beauty pageants.
It’s only available in one color scheme, and that color scheme isn’t exactly easy on the eye. An orange-red with a light gray is hardly a match made in artistic heaven.
To be fair, it’s difficult to make an inflatable kayak look particularly attractive, unless you’re talking about some high-end variants. This one from Advanced Elements springs to mind.
The logos and lettering are incorporated into the PVC material, so they’re not likely to rub or wear off – which is a plus point.
But the Excursion Pro is not going to turn any heads, and is definitely a case of function over form.
Many new kayakers and kayak anglers are – quite rightly – concerned about safety, especially when it comes to inflatables.
The Intex Excursion pro features three air chambers, so even in the unlikely event that one is compromised, you can still make it back to the shore.
The kayak is brightly colored, which will be easy to spot by rescue teams should you get into difficulty.
There are grab lines on both sides of the kayak at the bow and stern, which will help you hold onto the craft if it ever does tip.
And further peace-of-mind can be found in the fact that it has been fully certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
Regardless, you should always be wearing a certified PDF when you’re out on the water – no matter the type of craft you’re in.
Check out this review of the best fishing PFDs on the market, as not only can they potentially save your life, but they’re extremely practical for holding extra gear and tackle!
The Intex Excursion Pro Kayak is probably the best “cheap” vessel in this class available today. I’ve scoured the internet, and you’re simply not going to find a better kayak at a cheaper price.
For under $300, this is an outstanding offer, especially considering the current climate, and everything that comes with the kayak.
However, prices are subject to change, and if you find the Intex Excursion Pro kayak ever starts to creep over the $400 mark, I would say it might be time to look for something else.
Check out this review for more of the best budget-friendly fishing kayaks, if you need to tighten the purse strings, or you’re simply on the hunt for the best value for money.
If I didn’t already have a selection of hardshell and inflatables taking up space in my garage, I’d probably purchase the Intex Excursion Pro kayak.
Every time I review this kayak, it never ceases to amaze me just how much bang for buck it offers, especially when considering things like durability, features, and customization.
It’s a highly versatile inflatable kayak that is perfect for weekend anglers, recreational paddlers, or anyone looking to have some fun on the water.
The downsides are its performance, storage space, and comfort – but for casual use, this isn’t a big deal.
The Intex Excursion Pro kayak is officially Bonfire Bob approved!
Probably the best budget-friendly inflatable kayak on the market, the Excursion Pro series is well worth your consideration.
I hope this in-depth Intex Excursion Pro kayak review has helped you make your mind up – let us know in the comments if you’ve decided to pull the trigger, or if you’d prefer something else.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayaking!